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Posted by Jane Elizabeth Perry, Jan 12 2015 4:54PM

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Advice Needed - I'm injured and have a good practice...

Hello CTha,

I'm posting this, because I feel I've rather come to the end of a road with my massage practice. I have developed two hernias in my linea alba due to my work as a massage therapist, and it seems to me this is a sign (as well a chronic neck tension) that my 7 years as a massage therapist are nearly up (I do mostly deep tissue hands free). However, in that time, I've built up a very nice practice with many lovely regular clients. I feel it is a shame and a waste to simply close my doors and shut shop, and am wondering if anyone has any thoughts or experience with transitioning from doing the work yourself, to perhaps training up someone else, or taking on some one who has had similar training and managing them? Or, is it possible to sell a business? I can appreciate that my clients come to see me because they like me, and might not want to be "fobbed" off on someone else. I'm just wondering what to do - as I hate to see all my contacts, experience and training go down the tube. Any thoughts on how this sad process could go would be most appreciated!

Kind regards,
Jane
Amanda Clegg
Jan 12 2015 5:34PM
Gosh Jane how sad for you to have to give up. I have arthritic hands now, but am retraining in myofascial release with Jing, and finding a new lease of life. However, I too, see then end of the road now I am in my mid-50s.

Some years ago I 'inherited' some clients when a couple of local people either moved away or retired. I was approached by the retirees on the phone, and asked if my name could be given out, and then the clients were just given contact details left to choose. Some I heard from, others I didn't, or not for a long time, and then via other introductions. It did feel a little unsatisfactory - in retrospect it would have been good to have spent some time with the outgoing therapists - given them some treatments so they could assess my style and how it would fit with which of their clients, and even perhaps depped in for a treatment so their clients could get to know me. It's a difficult one, as a therapist is such a personal choice for all of us - and I think this would make it very hard to sell a bodywork practice as it's very existence depends upon the interacion between that therapist and her clients.

Thinking about it, I wouldn't recommend my clients on to anyone whose style of treatment was unknown to me. I go for quite a few massages myself, so have got to know some of the local therapists over the years, so it would not be too difficult to make personal recommendations to each of my clients based on my personal experience with that particular therapist.

Would I ask for a commission? Possibly, on the basis that I am losing my income, and also, the recieving therapists are saving their normal 10% advertising spend. On the other hand, how does one enforce that? I don't think its possible..

Hope this starts a good discussion!
Lauraine Paterson
Jan 12 2015 7:20PM
Jane, I'm so sorry to read your story and can sense real sadness in the fact that you are going to have to retire, possibly sooner than you would have expected.
I don't think that it's really possible to 'sell' a therapy practice unless you work from shop premises where you could transfer everything over to another therapist, hopefully one that you know would practice in the same, professional way as yourself.
Clients can really only go by your recommendation re a new therapist and see how they link with them on their first visit. Finding a therapist that can be trusted and respected can sometimes take a while for an individual but I'm sure your clients would at least try a session or two to give the therapist a chance to show their worth.
Charging a commission doesn't seem right to me. If I was in your shoes and made the decision to retire, I would be only too pleased to pass on my clients to friends/colleagues that I know would care for them well.
You may want to consider studying something completely different like meditation or mindfulness - there are teacher training courses out there? That would mean that there would be no hands on work and you would get the benefits from this practice as would your new students.
By closing the door on the massage, you may find that another opens up as you will have created the energetic space to allow this.
I wish you well Jane.
Laurie Paterson
Jane Elizabeth Perry
Jan 13 2015 11:54AM
Hello Laurie and Amanda,

Many thanks for your thoughtful replies. I can quite agree with what both of you have shared. It's a tricky scenario, especially in terms of charging another practitioner a commission. It could get messy, for example, when that therapist starts to bring in their own clients, or they get recommendations from my clients to see them. I can see it's perhaps a lost cause to try to keep the business going, unless I become the manager of a larger business, bringing in a few massage therapists who I oversee, as well as taking on a complete managerial role of hustling like mad to get them the clients, and then taking a cut. Sigh. I don't really want to be in an office doing admin work however, which is why I became a massage therapist in the first place! Will continue to think it through.

All the best!
Jane
Catherine Hunt
Jan 13 2015 1:01PM
Hi there

I completed CPD courses with Alison of Injury Prevention Massage and retrained with Darien Pritchard in Dynamic Forearm technique. Most recently, 10 years later, I've discovered JING
Advanced Massage Training is the way forward both for you and your clients.

Long gone should be the days of practitioners having to give up a practice because of injury.

Don't give up unless you feel that you're career is taking you through down the line away from hands on, all that knowledge and wisdom of helping people.

And no, don't think you can sell a massage practice. Unique to you

Hope that helps

Catherine

The Relaxation Room
Jane Elizabeth Perry
Jan 16 2015 2:16PM
Thanks Catherine,

Yes, if I had to do it all over again, I'd go the Jing way. I think they are leaders in the field. Somehow, my no-hands training and all the things I've done to avoid injury has, for the most part, worked. It certainly saved my back, hands, wrists, etc. The two hernias however - that was a little unexpected. So - onwards, to bigger and better things. No doubt I'll find my way through - perhaps bodywork isn't for me anymore - but I can with some thought, transition into something else.

Thanks for your feedback!
Jane
Amanda Clegg
Jan 16 2015 4:21PM
what about training? you must have an amazing wealth of experience! Jing are now doing tutor training as well, I think

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